Re: [OPE-L] Derrida's ghosts

From: Stephen Cullenberg (stephen.cullenberg@UCR.EDU)
Date: Sat Oct 29 2005 - 16:02:42 EDT

Well, I certainly recognize myself in all of the insults
that Allin shouts out.  Especially apt is the recognition to the
easy way to success that working on the terrain of postmodernism
brings.  Much like the easy success that we all have experienced by
working with and in the different traditions of marxism.  If hours
of research input is a useful metric to define easy, or its inverse, then
I would suggest that neither those of us working in the various areas of
postmodernism, marxism, or both, qualify for taking the easy road to
success.   I have tried hard to understand value theory, non
parametric econometrics and deconstruction over the years, and I feel to
see how the latter is any more transparent or present a set of concepts
than the former two "scientific" research areas.  Each
have their priors and earlier literatures to work through and all take
some significant effort, at least they have for me.  Neither value
theory, non parametrics, nor deconstruction have come naturally to me,
but they have come in bits and pieces and after a while.   You
are lucky indeed if you if you can apprehend, accept, or dismiss any of
these ideas so quickly.  Think how lucky many of our neoclassical
colleagues are in being able to reject value theory without reading more
than 10 pages of Marx! 

I will resist the urge to psychologize the reasons why some feel the need to psychologize those who choose a particular research strategy.  Instead, I would suggest that those who are interested look at the book that I co-edited with Jack Amariglio and David Ruccio in 2001 from Routledge, Postmodernism, Economics, and Knowledge.  Or, perhaps you might take a look at the attached intro that provides a critical genealogy of postmodernism, and postmodernism in economics, and develops what we call the often-overlooked "postmodern moments" in much theory.  This work may not bring forth the revolution but it plays some modest role I would argue.


At 08:29 PM 10/28/2005 -0400, you wrote:
On Fri, 28 Oct 2005, Ian Wright wrote:

Why has this postmodern style of writing become popular in some

Hypothesis: Picking up on and emulating this style requires a fair
degree of intelligence and a fair amount of reading in the style.
So being able to do it is a badge of some sort: membership of the
smart club.  On the other hand, acquiring the knack of writing in
this style is much easier than acquiring a good working knowledge of
a (any) scientific discipline, so it's an easier entree to getting
recognition and publishing your work.  Not only that, but you get to
feel superior to those toiling in specific scientific disciplines,
since the standpoint of "deconstruction" gives you an Olympian
overview of all human intellectual activity (denials of "privilege"
to particular levels of discourse, blah blah etc, notwithstanding).


Stephen Cullenberg             
Professor of Economics       
University of California          
Riverside, CA 92521            

Office:  951-827-1573
Fax:      951-787-5685

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